https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDbBaeSf1s4 Author and activist Herb Boyd provides a history of African-Americans in Detroit; from the Great Migration to today. He’s joined in conversation by Rita Kiki Edozie, professor of international relations and African affairs at Michigan State University
RETHINK SHINOLA is a multi-part, Internet-based artwork analyzing and critiquing the branding messages publicized by the company Shinola, founded in 2011. Shinola’s name is “a nod” to the former Shinola, a shoe polish company that promoted its products using racist caricatures of African Americans. The “new” Shinola company planted itself in Detroit and leverages and profiteers from the extreme conditions and image of the city as a site of grit and resilience. The brand creates representations of patriarchal whiteness to enforce perceptions of their “leadership” and circulates images of African American employees being grateful for this so-called governance. In Shinola’s narratives, the “wild” Detroit environment needs a civilized savior who can first identify with and then tame and civilize the savage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miukaKDL-Cs Explore how the global food system of white supremacy is a barrier to having a food system that ensures justice for all members of society. Malik Yakini is dedicated to working to identify and alleviate the impact of racism and white privilege on the food system. Yakini is a founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates a four acre farm in Detroit and spearheaded efforts to establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, which he chairs.
Detroit, the latest film by Kathryn Bigelow and her screenwriting partner Mark Boal, is not really about Detroit or the 1967 uprising in that city. The film dramatizes an event that took place during the uprising when police stormed the Algiers Motel, responding to a false report of sniper fire from the hotel. The police rounded up the guests — a group of unarmed Black men and two underage white girls who were, as one critic said, “partying like it’s 1966.”
By Shea Howell | People’s Water Board
Donald Trump came to Detroit over Labor Day weekend in a laughable, highly scripted bid to prove he is not racist. Protesters greeted him. Detroit is the largest African American city in the country, with a history of sophisticated political organizing that counters such lame gestures quickly and clearly.
…it would rank at the bottom of the world for urban access to clean water. The preface to current crisis was written in 2013 when the Governor-appointed emergency manager authorized Flint’s switch from a safe water source to a less expensive one. In the spring of 2014, the city started drawing water for household consumption from the highly polluted Flint River. According to the Virginia Tech scientists who first exposed the public health crisis in 2015, the levels of lead and other pollutants in the tap water made it unsafe for consumption, even after filtering.
We knew this day would come, but I am not prepared to call Grace Lee Boggs an ancestor. Not yet. Brilliant, demanding, critical, exacting, serious, searching, as cranky as she was empathetic, Grace mentored me like no other. She had unbelievably high expectations for those around her, myself included, and despite her occasional disappointment, she never gave up on our capacity to think and act and think more deeply. She relentlessly and lovingly pushed us with the force and precision of the expert dialectician we all knew her to be.
I’ve known Grace twenty-two out of the one hundred years she spent on this planet. I first encountered her in person in April of 1993, at a conference on C.L.R. James held at Brown University. Of course, I first met her on the page as co-author with her equally famous husband, James [Jimmy] Boggs, of radical texts like Revolution and Evolution in the 20th Century (1974) and the small pamphlets Detroit: Birth of a Nation (1967) and Uprooting Racism and Racists (1969). There was also the series of small books/pamphlets issued in the 1970s under the title, Conversations in Maine.
By Grace Lee
Grace Lee Boggs died Monday at the age of 100. She captured the hearts, minds, and imaginations of people from all walks of life. “We have to change ourselves in order to change the world,” Grace said, and that is what she did. She lived the life she believed in and her vision of justice and human connection, her life of struggle, and her revolutionary thinking served as an example and inspiration for many of us.
Last year Grace Lee, the filmmaker of the Peabody award-winning documentary American Revolutionary, wrote this piece for Praxis Center about the making of the film and how “Grace’s presence – in Detroit, in the world, and in my imagination – has helped transform my own thinking.” We share these words now as a tribute to Grace Lee Boggs, beloved American Revolutionary.
By Shea Howell
Shea Howell, an educator, activist and founding member of the Boggs Center, shares her remarks from a plenary session at the recently convened With/Out – ¿Borders? conference hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. This is the first in a three-part series on “Cities in Revolt.”
The battle for the kind of country we are becoming is being fought in our cities. Cities, especially those shaped in the traditions of African American and progressive struggles, are under assault. Corporate forces committed to the protection of the power and privilege of an increasingly smaller, whiter, and wealthier elite are attacking cities in an effort to turn them into centers of profit and play.
Central to this attack is the displacement and removal of people who have been in the forefront of developing new ways of living in places long abandoned by capital. Now, as resources are becoming increasingly scarce, finance capital is finding new ways to extract wealth from urban centers.